Lyft is venturing into the car rental business. This ride-hailing company made an announcement recently, saying that it will start a rental service. The service will be made available in the Lyft main app for smartphones. It will work just like any other car rental service. Operations will start in Los Angeles, California and San Francisco Bay Area. Renters will receive two $20-ride credits from the company to cater for the cost of driving a Lyft to the pickup point and from the drop-off point.
In addition to the ride credits, Lyft is offering more incentives at launch to attract renters and compete with incumbents. First, the minimum age for a renter will be 22 years old. All they will need is a driver’s license—a valid one. Second, mileage limits will not be a thing. According to Lyft, it plans on charging only the local gas market rate. This means that renters don’t have to fill up the cars before dropping them off. People will be able to rent cars for one day or even two weeks.
At launch, the Volkswagen Atlas SUV and the Volkswagen Passat Sedan will be made available to renters in San Francisco. In Los Angeles, the launch cars will be the Mazda CX-5 SUV and the Mazda 3 Sedan. The pricing set by Lyft is also quite enticing. The Passat in Francisco, for instance, will be priced at $35 per day. However, Lyft says that the pricing is likely to change depending on several factors.
The company has still not specified the model year version of its cars. But it says that each one of the cars features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It hopes to bring in hybrid versions soon. The company has also said that it will buy carbon offsets.
With the car rental service, there will be three different categories of coverage. These will be optional. The first one is a tier that will cover personal property and personal injury. Another one will cover any damages done to the car. ($25 for SUVs and $16 for sedans. These are daily rates). The last one is a supplemental liability option. It offers coverage of up to $1 million against third party claims.
Uber tried to get into rental services through partnership with another car-sharing company. Towards the end of 2018, this program was shut down. The two companies, Lyft and Uber, have leased and rented cars to their platform drivers in the past.
However, this is the first time that any of them is making a full-throated attempt at the rental car space. The market is dominated by few players and they are fighting hard not to lose their customers to these ride-hailing services.
Online learning portal Udacity launched its first 36-week “nanodegree” course for self-driving car engineering last year. There’s a new, introductory course available now as well, focused on bringing students with minimal programming into the larger program. Even better, Udacity has partnered with Lyft (which has self-driving plans of its own) to provide scholarships to the intro course in order to increase diversity to the program. 400 scholarships are available to US-based students with “varying levels of experience;” the application window closes October 1st.
Lyft says that people “from all backgrounds and perspectives” should have the opportunity to contribute to the future of transportation in the form of self-driving cars. “Diversity is crucial for creating solutions that serve everyone, and ridesharing is for everyone,” the company writes on its website. “That’s why these scholarships will specifically target communities that are underrepresented in technology in the US.”
In addition, Lyft will provide mentorship opportunities through its lyf, which is where the company houses its self-driving division. The nanodegree itself will cover topics like “machine learning, object-oriented programming and probabilistic robotics.”
Of course, if self-driving cars aren’t your thing, you can always enroll in Udacity’s new Flying Car nanodegree (which really focuses more on drones than actual airborne autos).
Back in April, Lyft launched features that made its system easier to use by deaf drivers and those who are hard of hearing. Now, it’s adding a couple more to celebrate National Deaf Awareness Month. Thanks to its partnership with the National Association of the Deaf, the ride-hailing firm has developed “flash-on request” for drivers.
If they’ve activated the app’s hard-of-hearing accessibility function, they’ll get a powerful visual notification whenever a ride request comes in: their phone’s screen and flashlight will both light up. When combined with the Amp emblem flashing the words “New Ride,” it could lower the chances of a driver missing out on a request.
In addition, Lyft is also making an attempt to breach the language barrier between drivers and passengers. It’s beefing up the automated text it sends out notifying passengers that their drivers are deaf or hard of hearing with a link to a tutorial on how to say “Hello” and “Thank you” in American Sign Language. The company didn’t say when the features will be available exactly, but it promises to roll them out soon.
Lyft is partnering with yet another self-driving car startup — this time with Drive.ai in the San Francisco Bay Area — to launch a pilot program that will shuttle ride-sharing customers to their destinations in vehicles controlled by artificial intelligence, not humans.
The partnership is just the latest step in Lyft’s plan to offer up its vast network of passengers and drivers to companies developing self-driving cars. Lyft already has partnerships with GM, Boston-based NuTonomy, and Waymo, the Google self-driving car project that spun out to become a business under parent company Alphabet.
Drive.ai and Lyft did not specify when this pilot program will start actively shuttling passengers in autonomous vehicles. Executives with Drive.ai and Lyft say they expect to launch “soon.”
Initially, the pilot will involve a small set of passengers who will opt in to this program, Taggart Matthiesen, senior director of product of Lyft, told The Verge. He did not provide a specific number of vehicles or participants, but noted the self-driving car will have a Drive.ai safety driver behind the wheel to take over in case the artificial intelligence controlling the car fails, and of course, to meet California regulations.
Once a ride is requested, Drive.ai’s software will evaluate whether or not the route is feasible, said Carol Reiley, co-founder and president of Drive.ai. This may be a route that has been pre-selected, Reiley said, adding that the company’s self-driving technology can handle rainy and nighttime conditions.
Drive.ai, which was founded by former graduate students working in Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, will use the pilot to test the limits of the self-driving car technology and further develop it so the riding experience is consistent, regardless of the conditions of route, Reiley said. A consistent and safe ride is something all companies developing self-driving car technology are chasing, with varying degrees of success.
Despite the lack of logistical details, the partnership is a milestone for the lesser-known Drive.ai, which received an autonomous vehicle testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in April 2016. This partnership — the first that Drive.ai has publicly announced — gives the startup the opportunity to potentially bring its self-driving cars to the 350 cities in 40 US states where Lyft operates.
Drive.ai uses a different approach from other companies racing to deploy autonomous vehicles. Startups generally train their self-driving vehicles with deep learning technology, a sophisticated form of artificial intelligence algorithms that allow a computer — essentially the car’s brain — to learn by using a series of connected networks to identify patterns in data. Traditionally, deep learning is used to teach the car how to recognize objects, such as the ability of the car to detect a traffic light or a pedestrian. In general, the use of deep neural networks is limited to this task.
Lyft has ceased deducting taxes from drivers’ pay that didn’t need to be collected in the first place, the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) said Tuesday.
With Labor Day 2017 just barely in the books, the IDG characterized the development as a victory – and proof that collective action works – by Lyft’s decision to cease deducting sales tax on rides that it wasn’t required to pay taxes on.
Lyft had a different perspective on the change in rates.
“Recent changes to our rate structure in New York had been planned for months,” Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin said in a written statement. “IDG’s charges are baseless and played no role in our decision. We have always abided by our driver agreement, which clearly states commissions and fees.”
In June, the IDG raised a ruckus over Lyft’s pocketing the sales tax on both in-state and interstate trips when the tax is only supposed to apply to interstate trips. The group called the practice a form of wage theft. Yet Uber, the embattled pioneer of ride-hailing, also started improperly collecting the tax like Lyft, the IDG says.
For Uber and Lyft drivers, installing a dashboard camera can boost their earnings by 5% to 15%.
Drivers are starting to place cameras behind their windshields to record the road ahead of them. Startups chasing the gold mine of car data are paying them to install these cameras. The startups want these videos to do everything from build maps for self-driving cars to track pedestrian activity.
A San Francisco startup, lvl5, is crowdsourcing maps for autonomous vehicles from dashcam videos. Two of its founders previously worked on Tesla’s autopilot team.
In three months, they’ve mapped over 500,000 miles of U.S. roads with 2,000 drivers using their iPhone app, Payver. Drivers receive between two and five cents per mile. Lvl5 expects that with 50,000 U.S. drivers, it can gather enough data to build maps for self-driving cars.
Lvl5 was founded in December by Andrew Kouri and Erik Reed, who both worked on Tesla’s Autopilot team, and George Tall, a computer vision engineer from iRobot, has developed a way to take enormous amounts of video collected from a camera and turn it into high-definition 3D maps that are constantly refreshing. These maps will always reflect the latest road conditions, providing self-driving cars with the information they need to detect and plan their route safely.
“The thing that everyone is kind of ignoring silently is that self-driving cars won’t ship unless we have really good HD maps that update every single day,” Kouri said in an interview with The Verge. “And nobody has a system to do this yet. This is what we’re building.”
Kouri says self-driving cars don’t need LIDAR, light detection, and ranging radar used to see the world around it. That’s a departure from what many automakers and tech companies like Google’s Waymo say is needed for the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.
Lvl5’s philosophy, in many ways, mirrors Tesla’s approach, which contends it can deploy fully autonomous vehicle technology without relying on LIDAR.
“We don’t really care if LIDAR wins out or computer vision wins out,” Kouri said. “Right now we know that if we want to make self-driving car en masse, cameras are ready and LIDAR is not.”
The company’s system uses consumer-grade cameras and a computer vision algorithm to turn all of the video it captures into useable, 3D maps. But it needed to scale it.
So they reached out to Uber and Lyft drivers who can crowdsource the video data via a dashcam app created by Lvl5 called Payver.
Drivers are paid to mount smartphones on the dashboard of their cars and run the app, which automatically collects video, accelerometer, and GPS data. Huge amounts of data are captured; video is taken every meter along a vehicle’s route. The compressed data is then sent to the cloud and then sent to lvl5’s central hub. From there, lvl5 uses its computer vision algorithm to translate all of this footage into high-definition 3D maps.
Lyft is touting a metric that its main rival can’t crow about – tip money earned through the platform. Lyft famously offers an in-app tipping option for riders, while Uber does not; and since Lyft announced that drivers had collectively earned over $100 million in tips four years after the company started its ride-hailing business, it’s been providing updates on the earning potential represented by tips on a semi-regular basis. Today, it has a new update on total earnings, and it’s rolling out new features that could contribute even more to tip-based earning potential.
Just two-and-a-half months ago, Lyft announced that total tips had passed the $200 million milestone, so the additional $50 million accumulated between now and then has come at a faster rate than ever before. A few factors might be helping out here: First, Lyft has greatly improved its footprint in the U.S. in the beginning of 2017, expanding to well over 100 new cities. Second, Lyft is gaining ground on Uber in terms of market share as Uber reels from its cultural and leadership problems, at a rate that we haven’t seen before between the two rivals.
Lyft is now going to start showing new pre-set tip options in rides to hopefully help drivers earn more on longer rides, the company revealed today. On trips where the fare is above $25, riders will now get $2, $5 and $10 tipping options instead of $1, $2 and $5 choices (custom tip options also remain for all rides). Lyft says than in its initial small group testing, it’s already seeing tips rise on those rides where the cost is over $25 and people are seeing the new selections.
While Uber is busy trying to build its own self-driving technology, Lyft has opted to focus on what it is good at: Building a network for cars.
The younger ride-hail player, which recently closed a $600 million round valuing the company at $7.5 billion, has left the autonomous tech development to the autonomous tech companies — most recently Alphabet’s Waymo.
Today, the company announced it has struck a third autonomous tech deal with self-driving startup nuTonomy. NuTonomy, which was co-founded by Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzolli, was spun out from MIT and develops autonomous vehicles. It already has pilots running in Boston as well as Singapore.
The deal: There’s no financial exchange, according to Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green. For now, the two companies are focusing on researching and later developing technology and software that will help with the passenger experience.
That means Lyft and nuTonomy will be working to answer the question: How will passengers interact with a “driver” that isn’t there? Green said the company expects to have a physical console in the car that will allow riders to connect to the Lyft app.
The deal will also give both Lyft and nuTonomy crucial data to later loop back into the software the companies are developing. Lyft, for instance, doesn’t have robust data on how its app should perform when hailing another human versus when it’s hailing a car.
The company is also working on ways to make the experience more instructive in order to help customers better understand how the car is working.
Eventually, nuTonomy will plug in a handful of its test vehicles into the Lyft platform to eventually chauffeur customers around Boston — which should be happening in the next few months.
Ultimately, the companies hope to ramp the nuTonomy vehicles on the Lyft platform up to “thousands” of vehicles.
Before Waymo and nuTonomy, Lyft partnered with General Motors — which also invested in the company — and its subsidiary Cruise. Unlike its deal with General Motors, Lyft’s partnership with nuTonomy and Waymo essentially puts the burden on the self-driving tech companies to come up with automaker partnerships.
NuTonomy, for its part, has a relationship with the PSA group which it announced in early May. For now, the company is only working with two Peugeot cars but expects to add more as time goes on. Waymo also has a deal with Fiat Chrysler which it’s just beginning to expand.
The deal with Lyft — and a sure path to commercialization — might help nuTonomy secure more partnerships with carmakers.
Yet unclear, however, is which company will own the vehicles in this ecosystem. Will automakers simply sell their autonomous vehicles to the networks, will the self-driving tech company buy a few thousand and retrofit them (probably not), or will Lyft take on that overhead?
Also unclear is how the revenue share agreement will be settled.
Neither Green nor Iagnemma had an answer. “The economics are still being worked out,” Green said.
“My job is to make sure nuTonomy will be part of the winning team,” Iagnemma said. “[That’s what] Lyft is for us when we look at North America.”
In Singapore, nuTonomy has a similar partnership with the Southeast Asian ride-hail player Grab. When it comes to the international self-driving landscape, it’s easy to see how several partnerships with local players will work out for companies like Lyft and Grab.
Lyft has another partners in the world of autonomous vehicles, its third behind GM and Waymo if you’re keeping count. The newest partner is Nutonomy, the Boston-based autonomous vehicle technology company that made waves by being first to real roads with a self-driving taxi – thanks to a team-up with Singapore’s economic development board. Now, Nutonomy and Lyft are launching a self-driving ride hailing service closer to home – in Boston, where a pilot project will see a couple of cars begin picking up riders sometime in the coming months.
During a press call to discuss the new partnership, Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green noted that his company believes ride sharing will account for “over 80 percent of all miles traveled” within a couple of decades, and that the way this will happen is via autonomous vehicle tech. That’s why it’s entering into this partnership with Nutonomy, he said, which, in its first stage, will focus on the passenger experience.
Both Nutonomy and Lyft are relatively inexperienced when it comes to actually transporting passengers in self-driving vehicles, as Nutonomy CEO and co-founder Karl Iagnemma noted on the call. So, too, is basically everyone, however, since this is relatively untrodden territory.
“We don’t really know in detail how riders are going to engage with autonomous vehicles because, frankly, we just don’t have that much experience,” Iagnemma said. That’s why they’ll be looking to use this partnership to gather data on rider interaction with the service, from hailing, to meeting their vehicle, to in-car experience and more. Green noted that it’ll focus on the entire “end-to-end” rider journey, and will include a new extension of the Lyft app that appears in-car on tablets mounted within the vehicles used for the pilot.
Those cars will initially be a small number of Renault Zoe EVs, which Nutonomy began road-testing in Boston starting last November. Iagnemma confirmed that Nutonomy engineers are already working on integrating Lyft software into “a couple of” vehicles, to be deployed sometime “in the coming months,” for actual customer pickups, though no more specific timeline was given.
Green and Iagnemma noted that long-term, the companies hope to field “thousands” of Nutonomy vehicles on Lyft’s ride hailing network. Green wouldn’t comment specifically on how this partnership will or won’t impact existing work with GM and Waymo, only noting that each are completely separate agreements, each “very different” in nature.
The two are a good fit because they’re both “safety first organizations,” too, according to Green. But neither is ready yet to discuss exactly how riders from Lyft’s user pool will be selected to take part in the trial – Uber’s debut Pittsburgh service, which was open to regular riders, would alert customers that they’d be receiving an autonomous test vehicle after their trip was confirmed, and it’s likely Lyft will do something similar.
This partnership is also all about mutual benefit; no money is changing hands in either direction as a result of the deal.
“There is no financial arrangement between the two companies,” Logan confirmed. “It’s a collaborative, R&D-based partnership.”
In addition to its new collaborative effort with Lyft, Nutonomy recently announced a partnership with Peugot owner PSA for autonomous vehicle testing in Singapore. Iagnemma noted on the call that this is designed to ultimately help integrate Nutonomy’s tech in a range of PSA vehicles that can eventually be run on ride hailing platforms like Lyft’s, once they become more prevalent.
A New York labor organization is calling for an investigation of Lyft and other ride-hailing services for allegedly cheating drivers on their fares.
The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), which formed last year as an affiliate of an existing labor union, said Wednesday that Lyft has been engaged in “large-scale deception” by improperly deducting more than 11 percent from drivers’ fares on interstate trips. In effect, the ride-hailing company is stealing some of the drivers’ wages by collecting taxes and surcharges on trips out of state that should apply only to in-state trips, and then disguising those charges as administrative fees, the labor group says.
New York State Assembly member Robert Rodriguez backed the IDG’s request for a full investigation in a letter addressed to the state’s attorney general and the Department of Taxation and Finance.
Drivers have also accused Uber, Juno and other ride-hailing services of being less than upfront in their dealings with their citizen drivers.
“There is no merit to this allegation,” Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin said Wednesday afternoon. “Our driver agreement lays out what commissions and fees apply to driving on the Lyft platform, and we’ve consistently abided by the agreement since entering the New York market in 2014.”
Ride-hailing drivers in New York have discovered that Lyft appears to be deducting a state sales tax on out-of-state trips that should be applied only to rides that begin and end in New York, the drivers guild says. The ride-hailing service also appears to be improperly collecting a surcharge for the Black Car Fund that shouldn’t apply to out-of-state trips.
When the drivers complained to Lyft, however, they were told that the charges were administrative fees. Those fees also happen to mimic the rates of the 8.875 percent state sales tax and the 2.5 percent surcharge for the Black Car Fund, which funds workers’ compensation for the drivers, according to the drivers group.
“This is an egregious and deliberate tax scam that amounts to wage theft affecting thousands of our members. By disguising these pay deductions as state taxes, Lyft willfully deceived drivers in order to rob them of their earnings and further enrich the company,” Ryan Price, executive director of the IDG, said in a written statement.
Delta Air Lines customers can now earn award miles traveling by car, part of an agreement announced Wednesday with the car-sharing service Lyft.
The airline suggested that its fliers preferred Lyft over the much larger Uber, which has been engaged in public disputes with drivers and employees.
“We look at the culture and the value system,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s vice president of customer engagement and loyalty. Mr. Dube said the airline wanted a partner whose culture was “customer-focused and employee-centric.”
When Delta frequent fliers link their Lyft and SkyMiles accounts, they will earn one point for every dollar spent on all Lyft rides, not just those to the airport.
Delta is eager to win the loyalty of younger travelers, many of whom have a more casual and spontaneous approach to flying. And Lyft expects to tap into Delta’s more than one million SkyMiles members.
“Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., said David Baga, the company’s chief business officer, “with a user base that aligns to one of Delta’s fastest growing customer groups.”
The agreement is the third partnership Delta has forged in the last year.
In June 2016, the airline began offering discount memberships in the identity verification service Clear, which speeds travelers through security using bio-metric identification like fingerprints and iris scans. Clear lanes are in place in 20 of Delta’s busiest airports.
“Our growth is up over 150 percent” over last year, said Caryn Seidman Becker, the chief executive of Clear. The increase by Delta’s customers “has exceeded ours and Delta’s expectation,” Ms. Seidman Becker said.
Delta also formed a partnership with Airbnb last fall, offering award miles for dollars spent on the home sharing site, when the stay is booked through a special page on Delta’s website.
“We looked at millennials and asked, ‘What kind of partnerships would you like? What brands do you love?’” Mr. Dube said. The airline concluded that affection for Airbnb was high among young travelers, a conclusion supported by an Airbnb-sponsored study showing that 60 percent of those who booked an Airbnb stay were between 18 and 35.
Lyft and Waymo are working together on self-driving car technology, with a new deal first reported by the New York Times on Sunday. The deal has been confirmed by both parties, and will see Google’s former self-driving car unit work together with the ride-hailing company on efforts to introduce self-driving to the general population via fleet services.
Waymo just launched a self-driving technology public pilot in Arizona, where its Chrysler Pacifica minivans equipped with in-house developed self-driving tech will be picking up families on-demand, with applications open to anyone working in the city. Waymo’s service is limited to begin with, but bringing a partner like Lyft into the mix will likely help it build out the side of the business that requires demand modeling, efficient routing and more.
It’s an interesting partnership because it’s another piece of the puzzle in addition to Waymo’s existing tie-ups with automakers, including Chrysler, and a pending an agreement with Honda. Waymo is positioning itself as the technology partner on the autonomy side, an essential service provider but not necessarily a player interested in owning the whole stack. Lyft offers another piece of the puzzle, which could ultimately benefit Waymo’s existing automaker partners, and help it attract more, too.
Uber is also making similar partnerships, with an open program for OEs, the first of which is Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler. Lyft is different, however, in that it has not expressed any interest in making its own self-driving tech in-house, but has instead formed a previously announced partnership with GM, which is likely to result in a pilot of autonomous tech fleet deployment with GM-owned Cruise.
This is the latest move that indicates Waymo might be closer to commercializing its technology than many may have thought. The Alphabet-owned company is arguably the player in the space with the most experience, with nearly a decade of development work and actual driving experience with autonomous car tech.
Envision Healthcare subsidiary American Medical Response is partnering with Lyft to integrate the ride-sharing platform into its services.
The alliance with Lyft will be built into AMR’s operations in 42 states where the venture — which handles more than 4.5 million transports annually — does business. It will focus on non-emergency service and look to take the place of programs offered by hospitals, clinics or insurance companies that use taxi vouchers or other transportation incentives to get patients to and from appointments. In addition to better tracking and controlling costs, the companies say their partnership will lower the number of missed follow-ups and help improve providers’ quality measures.
“We are looking forward to working with American Medical Response as an on-demand transportation partner,” said Gyre Renwick, head of healthcare partnerships at Lyft. “This opportunity to extend our services to the healthcare community allows us to align with AMR’s mission of making a difference by caring for people in need.”
The Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network and Humana are teaming up to coordinate care for 4,000 Humana Medicare Advantage members in the Nashville and Jackson markets.
The four-year agreement is VHAN’s first value-based care arrangement for a Medicare Advantage plan. The entities will pool their population health tools for their insurance plan members and look to contain costs.
VHAN is home to more than 4,000 clinicians at 56 hospitals who care for more than 130,000 people through alliances with multiple insurers.
“We have carefully chosen partners, like Humana, who share our vision for strong, healthy communities and who provide valuable support to help make our vision a reality,” said Mark Cianciolo, VHAN’s executive director. “We are looking forward to the valuable insights and the best practices that will come from our work together caring for Medicare Advantage patients.”
CarePayment, the patient financial engagement company that recently relocated its headquarters to Nashville, has struck a deal to offer its services to clients of a medical equipment company owned by private-equity giant Blackstone.
California-based Apria Healthcare Group providers home respiratory therapy, wound therapy, nutrition therapy and other medical equipment to more than 1.8 million people annually. CEO Dan Starck said many of his customers will put to good use CarePayment’s tools to pay medical expenses over time and without interest.
“People expect to have financing options when buying a house, car, furniture and other household necessities,” CarePayment CEO Craig Hodges said in a statement. “Why should it be any different when it comes to tending to our health? No one should have to choose between their healthcare and putting a roof over their head or food on their table.”
Uber Technologies Inc. was in critics’ crosshairs while Lyft Inc. was winning support after the companies’ very different responses to President Donald Trump’s immigration order.
The backlash came as New York taxi drivers went on strike Saturday and joined a protest at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport against Trump’s order blocking entry to the U.S. by immigrants from select largely Muslim countries, while a tweet from Uber indicated the company had suspended surge pricing, causing some to view the company as seeking to undermine the strike.
Lyft largely stayed out of Saturday’s confrontation but sent an email to users Sunday saying that the company would be donating $1 million over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union.
President Trump signed an executive order Friday that banned the entry of immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely. A federal judge stayed the order Saturday, which temporarily stopped the deportation of refugees and other immigrants detained at U.S. airports.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, with a membership of 19,000 people, had called on all drivers, including those with Uber and Lyft, not to pick up passengers from JFK and to instead join the protest. The group said its membership is largely Muslim and made up of immigrants, and that it was “in defense of the oppressed,” as well as its own drivers, that it was speaking out against the ban. During that time, Uber issued a tweet promoting its service.
“We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet—it was not meant to break up any strike. We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially tonight,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement to MarketWatch.
Still, consumers were not pleased, and many turned toward Lyft, which had issued a statement against the ban as well as promising the donation.
“We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community,” John Zimmer and Logan Green, Lyft’s co-founders, wrote in the email.
Lyft and Uber are rivals in the ride-hailing space, but Uber has a higher valuation, at $68 billion, and more funding, compared with Lyft, which has a valuation of $5.5 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a blog post on Saturday, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said his company was reaching out to drivers who would be affected and that he would bring up the policy’s implications on “innocent” people when he meets with Trump during the next White House business advisory group gathering. Kalanick is a member of a that group along with Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, and Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, among others.
Uber said it has begun reaching out to drivers affected by the ban, including drivers who are residents but not citizens and are currently outside the country. The company said it would work to “compensate them pro bono” for the missed wages with Uber.
Kalanick’s decision to join the White House council was recently met with protests at the Uber headquarters in San Francisco, according to several news outlets. Musk’s participation was also criticized. Kalanick explained in the blog post that he chose to be part of the council because he believes the company can be more effective by partnering with and speaking up to governments.
“Whatever your view please know that I’ve always believed in principled confrontation and just change; and have never shied away (maybe to my detriment) from fighting for what’s right,” Kalanick wrote.